A fresh heatwave has been predicted for the week beginning on Monday (today). That the weather has turned hot over the last few days of April is no surprise, but the increase in temperature is abnormal. Well, actually, because of climate change it is the new normal, and the government must get ready not just to deal with the current crisis, but to deal with the repetitions of coming years. Not only has the hot weather arrived early, but it is not going to end until later than usual. Meanwhile, temperatures are likely ro reach new heights, and to hold at them. If Lahore’s temperature reaches highs only rarely achieved and stays there, what will be the sustainability of life in the city?
This is predicted as happening to all cities, because the formation of a huge heat dome has meant that the whole of South Asia, as well as Iran, is covered which will make temperatures soar. The government can only try to take measures to lessen the impact on citizens, the first being making sure that the various provincial and federal Disaster Management Authorities are attuned to the situation. It must, among other things, make sure that hospital emergencies are ready for the arrival of victims of heat stroke and of heat-related diseases, such as diarrhoea, and other dehydration-related emergencies. Warnings to all not to expose themselves in the sun must be widely disseminated.
At their same time, the government should consider how it closed down schools during the recent covid-19 pandemic, and whether shutting schools during the worst of the heatwave, to be balanced by an early re-opening after the summer holidays, might be worth considering. After all, while children’s education is important, their health, indeed their survival, is more important.